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A Sweet Tooth’s Guide to the Hudson Valley’s Chocolate Shops

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Adobe Stock | Photo by Jiri Hera

The Hudson Valley’s eclectic chocolatiers tempt with to-die-for barks, filled truffles, hand-dipped desserts, and other decadent sweets.

Food is always more than just food in the Hudson Valley. When it comes to regional cuisine, each plate tells a story of where and how the ingredients were grown, how the concepts behind the flavors was conceived, and why it looks the way it does. In other words, local dishes are often edible art. Unsurprisingly, crafting the most beautiful and delicious food along the Hudson River is a passion and mission that extends to sweets as well.

In the Hudson Valley, local candy makers frequently draw on decades of experience to perfect their craft. Some shops have stood in the same place for 100 years, while others are fresh on the scene with new ideas from around the world. What every spot has in common is a passion for creating the most divinely decadent desserts possible. Is your sweet tooth ready for it?

Columbia County

 

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Vasilow’s Confectionary, Inc.

Hudson, 518.828.2717

Located in the heart of Hudson, Vasilow’s creates a paradise of classic chocolates and brand-new creations alike. Chocolate-covered fortune cookies, Twizzlers, and potato chips showcase the team’s creativity and willingness to embrace the fun side of the food industry. Its homemade chocolate truffle centers use heavy cream and butter from nearby dairy farms, and decadent fillings can taste of Chardonnay, Raspberry Chambord, Creme de Menthe, and more. The old-world flavors come from family recipes that date back to Vasilow’s opening in 1923, just a few blocks away from its current location.

Verdigris Tea and Chocolates

Hudson, 518.828.3139 

Verdigris goes far beyond serving cups of herbal delights (though the teas may be the most pleasant way to start a cold winter morning). Kim Bach opened her first retail store more than a decade ago with the intention of focusing on tea. Yet when she filled a small basket in the center of the shop with “death by chocolate” candies, they took off. A friend to all Hudson Valley chocolatiers, Verdigris carries items from Fruition, Oliver Kita, and much more. If you’re more into drinking the dark stuff, turn to the renowned hot cocoas. A spicy Mexican hot chocolate brings lots of kick, while the Angelina — nearly melted ganache in a cup — has big Parisian flair. Around the holidays, check Verdigris for everything from hazelnut mousse tortes to fresh-dipped fruit to dark chocolate biscotti, courtesy of baker Regina Simmons

Dutchess County

Alps Sweet Shop

Beacon and Fishkill, 888.442.2577

Come 2022, Alps will have 100 years of experience under its belt, with plenty more to go. It was founded in Beacon by chocolatier Peter Charkalis, and the business remains in the family with his granddaughter Sally. Adding to the European influence is Sally’s husband Terry, who has studied in chocolate capitals of the world like Belgium and France.  The team prides itself on fresh ingredients and rich-tasting treats. At either location, patrons can spend great amounts of time perusing the decorative assortments under glass. From traditional favorites like the signature Heaven and Earth Truffles (three types of dark chocolate and fresh local cream, rolled in cocoa powder) to fun, gimmicky concepts like chocolate-covered potato chips, there’s something for everyone at Alps.

The Chocolate Studio

Beacon, 845.765.1165

Just a short walk down Main Street from Alps is Beacon’s Chocolate Studio, another local mainstay. The bubbly candy store perpetually stocks the shelves with rich chocolates and the owners’ signature Gourmetibles, a unique cookie-candy hybrid that satisfies big cravings. Much of The Chocolate Studio’s personality can be attributed to sisters Regina Furphy and Anne St. George, who own and run the place. During the summer months, the shop even whip up creamy, decadent vegan ice cream with the help of in-house cookie maker Chante Tenoso. The homemade alternative milk-based treats offer the perfect texture that non-dairy ice cream can seldom mimic, and come in flavors like mocha chocolate chip and chocolate fudgesicle. (Nut-free customers can choose from flavors made from oat milk). The team likes to experiment, so come back multiple times for the complete experience.

Krause’s Chocolates

Rhinebeck, 845.876.3909; New Paltz, 845.255.1272; and Saugerties, 845.246.8377

After a lengthy hike in the Shawangunk Mountains, few things compare to a cold, refreshing, chocolate-dipped frozen banana from Krause’s New Paltz location. Owner Karl Krause uses a Swiss formula for chocolate free of any waxes, oils, or unpleasant aftertaste. Hand-dipped items from one of three Krause locations will blow foodies away. In the family for three generations, Krause’s has mastered the arts of confection, drawing upon Karl Krause’s grandfather’s recipes with new and unique creations constantly making their way into the lineup. Plus, the seasonal molded chocolates make for perfect gifts to commemorate almost any holiday. The chocolate Labrador, Henry, is especially adorable.

Samuel’s Sweet Shop

Rhinebeck, 845.876.5312

Samuel’s Sweet Shop is a destination unto itself. A passion project for actors Paul Rudd and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Samuel’s bursts with retro atmosphere. Decorative homages to the pies from Broadway’s Waitress, Welcome Back Cotter lunchboxes, Beatlemania board games, and much more line the walls inside, along with sugary delights. Among the dynamite desserts are the Next Level Sensations: peppermint patties sandwiched between two Oreos and coated in dark chocolate. Rhinebeck’s sweetest celebrity-owned candy shop also pours a delicious hot chocolate that’s decadent in every way, with excellent coffee to boot.

 

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Taste Budd’s Café

Red Hook, 833.462.8337

This Red Hook café fosters an unforgettable experience for your Taste Budd’s. So much of what this all-in-one eatery serves is made from scratch, a fact that can be explained by the multiple graduates from the Culinary Institute of America who are often on staff. The team is passionate about sharing an experience of coffee and chocolate indulgence, one of the finest pairings in the world. Chef Daniel Budd brought more than two decades of experience creating delicious desserts across the country (and in France) to Taste Budd’s when he opened in the Hudson Valley in 2000. African cocoa beans called Forestero make the Belgian and American chocolate exceptionally rich, with a strong flavor of spice. Strawberry balsamic, chai caramel, Guinness, and brown sugar whiskey — the latter which bursts with chili pepper and whiskey ganache — are some of the unique truffles from Taste Budd’s. The dark chocolate “Passion Pyramids” are visually striking in arrangement and full of bright passion fruit filling.

Orange County

Commodore Chocolatier

Newburgh, 845.561.3960

The Commodore Chocolatier is a fan-favorite business located on Broadway in Newburgh. Commodore is a family owned business established in 1935, and is currently under the stewardship of the second and third generations. Utilizing high-quality ingredients sourced locally and globally, Commodore crafts delicious confections like their Pistachio Cardamom Truffles, the historically-inspired “Chop Suey,” and a plethora of marvelous chocolate molds.

LoveBites Chocolate Shoppe

Monroe, 845.238.5511

Located just off Main Street in Monroe, LoveBites serves Orange County with a wide array of tasty treats. Many of the signature “bites” are available on DoorDash, making multiple orders temptingly convenient. Chocolate lovers will find all the fan-favorites here: chocolate-covered espresso beans, sea salt caramel pretzels, peanut clusters, cherry cordials, and more. Tiramisu truffles and chocolate-dipped sponge candy demonstrate the shop’s willingness to experiment on the quest to provide the Hudson Valley with amazing delicacies. The milkshakes have won Best of the Hudson Valley awards before and are dangerously delicious and extremely Instagrammable.

Rockland County

 

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Lucas Candies

Haverstraw, 845.947.1220

This family-owned business is bursting with personality and creativity in the Hudson Valley. The shop has been making candy in the same location since the 1890s. In other words, the Loucas family knows how to make delicious treats. Get a taste of the most popular cocoa-based confections including tons of gourmet chocolate bars, chocolate-covered Oreos and pretzels, and Gobs, a.k.a. dark chocolate and caramel-covered marshmallows. Locals go crazy for the chocolate strawberries around Valentine’s Day.

 

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Tree of Chocolate 

Nyack, 845.348.9899 

Nyack has an especially indulgent chocolate experience in store for those with a cocoa craze. Travels to South America, Europe, and across the United States imbue the team at Tree of Chocolate with a passion for culture and cuisine. The chocolate pizza is a great centerpiece for a party spread or enjoyable by the slice. Mexican chocolate, praline, orange peel, and other classic flavors tempt innermost cravings. Tree of Chocolate also carries top-tier bars from other purveyors with bold flavor combinations like parmesan-walnut-fig, cheddar-apple, and turmeric-ginger.

Ulster County

Hudson Valley Chocolates

Wallkill, 845.851.8232 

Say “J’aime le chocolat” at Hudson Valley Chocolates, a hand-crafted confection shop run by French-American pâtissier and chocolate-maker Stephanie Glaisek. She studied under famous French chocolatier Henri Le Roux and worked in Avignon. Glaisek’s passion for candy started as a consumer and grew with each professional experience, including working as a pastry chef for the Castle at Tarrytown. The resulting candy draws inspiration from classic dessert flavor pairings, like dark chocolate-dipped apricots or toasted coconut bark. Ornately decorated desserts in every chocolate box display fleur-de-lis, colorful flowers, and other intricate designs. For those who love a good crunch, try the signature “Cornflake Clusters.”

Fruition Chocolate

Shokan, 845.657.6717

Fruition Chocolate is a name to remember. Founder Bryan Graham graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and put his expertise to work. Fruition’s cacao beans come from fair trade organic growers and are roasted and ground on location in Shokan. The result? Deep, decadent, full-flavored chocolate that only Fruition can make. Local ingredients like Hudson Valley fruit, maple syrup, honey, and even locally distilled bourbon add nuance to every bar. Fruition’s collaborations do not stop there, as the chocolate flavors ice cream at Nancy’s in Woodstock and milk stouts at Newburgh Brewing Company, to name a few. Shop gift baskets for the ultimate chocolate lover on Fruition’s website.

Lagusta’s Luscious

New Paltz, 845.633.8615

Vegan foodies have their very own haven at cookbook author and plant-based alchemist Lagusta Yearwood’s New Paltz sweet shop. With a keen sense of social justice, Yearwood battles industrial agriculture one chocolate-covered caramel at a time, with absolutely no animal products used. Having perfected alternative ingredients, Yearwood makes chewy cardamom caramels, tasty tahini meltaways, and creamy mousse cups. Lagusta’s Luscious treats not only taste amazing, but also look strikingly unique. Anatomically correct heart bonbons (that actually bleed), maple cream leaves, and more edible artwork pop out of their assortment boxes. Subscription boxes can keep the sweets coming every single month, with themed desserts available in-store for every celebration under the sun.

 

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Lucky Chocolates

Saugerties, 845.247.3134

Anyone who stumbles into this Ulster County confectionery should consider themselves very lucky indeed. A local favorite for candies and truffles, the Saugerties chocolate destination also serves a stellar hot cocoa, paired perfectly with a piece of Lucky’s homemade peppermint bark. Founder Rae Stang loved the idea of producing small pieces of art with shortened lifespans; a piece of chocolate doesn’t hang on a wall for years, it’s eaten. Stang and his crew push for local and organic ingredients as much as possible and even develop several vegan options. Truffle varieties include honey butter, crème brûlée, Chimayo chili, blood orange, and much more.

 

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Oliver Kita Chocolates

Kingston, 914.388.7233

Oliver Kita provides much more than exquisite chocolates in beautiful packaging in the Hudson Valley. His approach and talent produce jewel-like chocolate with some of the most unique flavors a person can try. Variety boxes introduce chocolate fans to flavor profiles such as natural bee pollen, lavender, lychee, and much more. In bar form, Kita pays homage to the sights of the region, with flavors like “Clermont Cappuccino” (espresso dark chocolate), “Beekman Buttercrunch” (dark chocolate with toffee and sea salt), and “Olana Moroccan Orange” (spiced milk chocolate with orange and ginger). Kita offers plenty of vegan candy, including “The Eight-fold Path of Chocolate Awareness” (tiny candy Buddha statues.) Check the website before every major holiday, as seasonal favorites will surprise and delight anyone with a sweet tooth.